Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a common condition that occurs when stomach acid flows back into the oesophagus, causing symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, and difficulty swallowing. While the occasional bout of acid reflux is normal, chronic acid reflux can lead to more serious health issues.
Diet is known to play a significant role in acid reflux symptoms. Certain foods and drinks can trigger acid reflux or worsen symptoms, while others can help alleviate them. In this article, I’ll explore the relationship between food and acid reflux, and specifically examine whether hummus, a popular Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas, is good for acid reflux.
What is Hummus?
Hummus is a popular Middle Eastern dip that is made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. It has a super creamy texture and a nutty, slightly tangy flavour.
Hummus has a rich history that dates back to ancient Egypt and the Levant region of the Middle East. While the exact origin of hummus is unclear, it is believed to have been first made by the ancient Egyptians, who ground chickpeas into a paste and mixed it with vinegar and spices. Over time, the recipe for hummus evolved, and it became a staple dish in Middle Eastern cuisine.
Hummus is also a nutritious food, as it is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. One serving of hummus (about 2 tablespoons) contains approximately:
- 70-80 calories
- 2-3 grams of protein
- 5-6 grams of fat
- 4 grams of carbohydrates
- 2 grams of fibre
Hummus is also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. The chickpeas used in hummus are a particularly beneficial ingredient, as they are high in protein, fibre, and complex carbohydrates (which can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve digestive health).
The Relationship Between Hummus and Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a condition that can be aggravated by certain foods, leading to discomfort and symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, and difficulty swallowing. Therefore, it is important to understand whether hummus can contribute to acid reflux or provide relief from its symptoms.
- Is hummus acidic?
Hummus is generally considered to be a low-acid food, with a pH level ranging from 6.0 to 6.5. This means that it is less likely to cause acid reflux compared to highly acidic foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and vinegar-based dressings. However, it is important to note that individual reactions to different foods can vary, and some people may experience acid reflux after consuming hummus.
- Does hummus cause acid reflux?
While hummus is not considered a common trigger food for acid reflux, it can still contribute to symptoms in some people. This may be due to the presence of certain ingredients in hummus, such as garlic or lemon juice, which can irritate the oesophagus and cause acid reflux in susceptible individuals.
- Can hummus help alleviate acid reflux symptoms?
Despite the potential for hummus to cause acid reflux, some studies have suggested that it may actually have a protective effect against the condition. This is because the chickpeas used to make hummus are high in fibre and may help reduce the production of stomach acid. Additionally, the healthy fats in olive oil and tahini may help soothe the oesophagus and reduce inflammation.
The Benefits of Chickpeas for Acid Reflux
Chickpeas, the primary ingredient in hummus, have a number of nutritional benefits and may actually help alleviate acid reflux symptoms.
Are chickpeas good for acid reflux?
Chickpeas are a good source of fibre, which is important for digestive health and can help regulate bowel movements. This can be particularly beneficial for those with acid reflux, as constipation can worsen symptoms. Additionally, chickpeas are a good source of protein, which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied, and may reduce the likelihood of overeating or snacking on trigger foods.
How chickpeas can help with acid reflux symptoms
The fibre in chickpeas can help regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation, which can contribute to acid reflux symptoms. Additionally, the high protein content in chickpeas can help keep you feeling full and satisfied, reducing the likelihood of overeating or snacking on trigger foods. Chickpeas are also a good source of complex carbohydrates, which can provide sustained energy without spiking blood sugar levels.
Foods that Calm Down Acid Reflux
Ginger: Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and irritation in the oesophagus.
Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a low-acid, high-fibre food that can help regulate digestion and prevent constipation.
Bananas: Bananas are a low-acid fruit that can help reduce acid production in the stomach and provide a soothing effect on the oesophagus.
Melons: Melons, such as watermelon and cantaloupe, are low-acid fruits that can help reduce acid production and provide hydration.
Green Vegetables: Green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and kale are alkaline in nature and can help neutralise stomach acid.